These are all of the Human Services bills proposed in the 2019 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.
None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.
Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in . They are color-coded by party.
Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.
Click on the House bill title to jump to its section:
HB19-1013: Child Care Expenses Tax Credit Low-Income Families
HB19-1023: Foster Children and Driver Licenses
HB19-1043: Life Care Institutions Post Surety Bond as Reserve
HB19-1051: Colorado Department of Public Safety Human Trafficking-Related Training
HB19-1054: Disability Trust Requirements
HB19-1069 Sign Language Interpreters Title Certification
HB19-1013 Child Care Expenses Tax Credit Low-Income Families (Pettersen) [Exum]
Permanently extends the child care tax credit for low income families that is set to expire in 2022 or if surplus funds run short.
Permanently extends the child care tax credit for low income families that is set to expire in 2022 or if surplus funds run short. The tax credit is available for individuals with a federally adjusted gross income of $25,000 or less and is for 25% of child care expenses for a dependent under 13, up to $500 max for one dependent and $1000 for two or more.
Child care is one of the biggest problems facing any working family, and the cost can be extremely difficult to bear for low income families. Tax credits here are one the best investments the state can make in both giving working families the ability to actually work and children a safe place for care. Removing the sunset on this credit is appropriate for something so important and if the legislature decides at a later date it no longer wants the credit it can simply remove it with a legislative act.
This tax credit was designed to be a bonus of sorts, if the state had excess revenue then it would continue to operate. Removing that distinction and making it permanent could add extra stress to state revenues when we inevitably hit another low economic period. The concept of sunsetting tax credits is also a longstanding Colorado tradition that allows us to force re-examination of these credits every few years to make sure we really want to keep them.
HB19-1023 Foster Children and Driver Licenses (Marble, Todd) [Saine, Jackson]
From the Transportation Legislation Review Committee
Makes multiple changes to make it easier for foster children to obtain driver’s licenses and instruction permits when the child has legally obtained financial responsibility for themselves and obtain insurance (by pooling with state fleet).
Exempts foster children from having foster parent or legal guardian sign affidavit of liability when getting a driver’s license, allows a foster child under 16 to be instructed by anyone who is at least 21 and has a driver’s license, and allows anyone who is 21 and provided instruction to sign driving logs for instruction requirements for foster children who have financial responsibility in his or her own name. Also lowers age required to obtain an instruction permit without an affidavit of liability from 17 ½ to 17. Creates a program that pools insurance of a child who has been in a foster home for at least one year with the state’s fleet. The program will not start until full funding has been achieved from gifts, grants, or donations.
This removes some common obstacles for foster children in obtaining a license and insurance. All of the exemptions are common-sense and keep the spirit of our licensing system intact. Insurance is of course required to drive and can be much harder for a teenager to obtain and pay for on their own.
The state’s nonpartisan legislative council says that the state cannot pool insurance of a foster child together with the state to reduce rates. So while the bill will help these kids get insurance, it isn’t going to cost any less. The only way to do that would be for the state to pay for some of the costs. The legislative council estimates annual appropriations of $1.4 million dollars and a two and a half full-time employees to administer the program. This is too much for a few hundred kids to get insurance.
HB19-1043 Life Care Institutions Post Surety Bond as Reserve [Galindo]
Allows life care institutions to use surety bonds as an allowable reserve, adding to the existing options which all require liquidity.
Allows life care institutions to use surety bonds as an allowable reserve, adding to the existing options which all require liquidity. Surety bonds are a legally binding contract among three parties: the principal (business required to have the financial guarantee), the oblige (agency requiring the financial guarantee) and the surety (the agency issuing the bond and thus providing the financial guarantee.
Life care institutions can promise care until death if a resident pays a hefty initial entrance fee and ongoing monthly fees, which is why the state requires reserves to protect families against the institution miscalculating and going bankrupt. But the current situation that requires actual liquidity is burdensome to facilities that must always have that money set aside. A surety bond, and there are special ones issues specifically for assisted living facilities, provides the same peace of mind and financial guarantee without financially burdening the facility.
We require actual cash because actual cash is what runs these facilities. While the bond does promise a financial guarantee, now we have another organization involved that has to stay financially viable for the guarantee to be real. If the bond facility runs into problems, what then?
HB19-1051 Colorado Department of Public Safety Human Trafficking-Related Training (Gardner, Ginal) [Carver, McLachlan]
Requires division of criminal justice to provide human trafficking training to law enforcement agencies and entities that provide services to human trafficking victims.
Requires division of criminal justice to provide human trafficking training to law enforcement agencies and entities that provide services to human trafficking victims. This can include: train-the-trainer programs, direct trainings, and online training programs. The bill directly names law enforcement agencies, organizations that provide direct services to victims of human trafficking, and school personnel and parents or guardians of students, but training is open to any other organization, agency, or group that would benefit. When considering requests for training the division should give priority to areas that have limited access to training resources. There is no direct funding provided for the program but the division is authorized to accept money, gifts, grants, donations, services, and in-kind donations.
Human trafficking is a matter of statewide concern and although training resources are available on the front range, many areas of the state have limited training resources that are easily available or accessible. The Colorado Human Trafficking Counsel has developed a curriculum for law enforcement and is charged with doing the same for entities that provide services to human trafficking survivors. It makes sense to link these programs up with the areas of the state that needs them.
Arguments Against: n/a
HB19-1054 Disability Trust Requirements (Bridges)
Changes the validity of disability trusts so that trusts can reimburse Medicaid for any amount remaining in the trust up to the total amount of medical assistance paid on behalf of the beneficiary only after the death of the beneficiary. Previously valid trusts also had to reimburse the state if the trust was terminated in the beneficiary’s lifetime. Also requires valid trusts to comply with Social Security requirements.
Long Description: n/a
The purpose of these trusts is to use a person’s own assets for their disability care but maintain eligibility for Medicaid and Social Security. If a person’s circumstances change while they are alive and they no longer need their care, they are still going to need their assets to live. Pulling the reimbursement money out at this point could mean financial ruin. Instead the state should wait until the person is deceased.
This creates a bit of an end-run around the promise of these trusts, that the money paid out in medical treatment will get reimbursed by the individual’s assets to the extent possible. These individuals create the trusts to use public money for their treatment. If they no longer need treatment, great, but you are not supposed to then spend all of the money in the trust on something else.
HB19-1069 Sign Language Interpreters Title Certification (Danielson) [Jackson]
Adds “translator” and “certified translator” for sign language to the list of titles that require certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. to use.
Long Description: n/a
It is critical for those relying on sign language to communicate that the person doing the signing knows what they are doing. People advertising themselves as translators and certified translators should have an official seal of approval.
Someone should be able to advertise themselves as a translator without an official certification from this specific organization. If someone is acquiring the services of a translator, it is on them to make sure they have someone who can do the job.
SB19-031 Child Welfare Allocations Committee Composition (Gardner) [Lontine, Liston]
Short Description: Changes composition of child welfare allocations committee by taking two seats away from the department of human services and adds two from the counties with the highest percentage of the state’s child welfare caseload.
Long Description: n/a
It makes sense to ensure that the two counties in the state with the highest caseload are represented on the committee. The Department of Human Services still has seats, just fewer of them.
Arguments Against: n/a
SB19-072 Bill of Rights Protected Person Under Guardianship (Holbert) [Ransom, Melton]
Creates a series of rights for people who are protected through a legal guardianship relationship.
Creates a series of rights for people who are protected through a legal guardianship relationship. These include: to have an attorney at any time to ask for relief; receive notice for all guardianship proceedings (unless court determines the individual lacks capacity to understand notice); receive a copy of all documents; have a family member, interested party, or medical provider speak on their behalf; be educated and ask questions about their guardian’s actions; participate in developing plan for care; given due consideration to their personal desires, preferences for healthcare, and religious and moral beliefs; remain as independent as possible; granted the greatest amount of freedom possible; engage in any activity the court has not expressly forbidden; be treated with respect and dignity; be treated fairly; maintain privacy in personal matters; receive calls, mail, and visitors unless court determines particular correspondence or visitor will harm individual; have all guardian services provided at appropriate compensation levels; get prudent financial management; receive and control salary, maintain a bank account, and manage personal money. Also have the right to ask the court to review guardian management in disputes, review the need for a guardian at all, and replace a guardian.
This is sadly necessary. There are entire organizations devoted to stopping guardian abuse and the examples are rampant. From stealing money to isolating people from family to pilfering assets, guardians are given immense power of an individual’s life and we do not have enough protections in place to prevent abuses. This bill rights this wrong in a comprehensive manner to ensure that all individuals who need a guardian are also enable to live their lives to the fullest extent possible.
This bill hamstrings guardians to an extent that may make executing their duties too difficult. Courts are required too often to make decisions that the guardian is there to do (it’s why the court appoints a guardian in the first place). Finances are too easily placed in the hands of an individual who may not be capable of managing them, and too much deference is given to an individual who is in this sad position for a reason: they cannot manage themselves without significant help. It is of course not their fault, but we should not make the situation worse by giving them too much to handle.